Yanks facing heat over rainy day actions

Losing late vs. losing early
Game 26: Roster moves and injury updates

The Yankees today are receiving some bad press over the way the team may or may not have handled the rain delay last night. Matt Gagne of The Daily News runs through the story, and I’ll summarize.

Last night, the Yankees delayed the start of their game against the Red Sox by over two hours. Fans hung around the new stadium, and as the fans awaited the start of the game, little word came from the fans. At around 9 p.m., some stadium employees — those workers holding the “How may I help you?” signs — told fans that the game had been postponed.

At that point, fans started to leave. A few minutes, while many were still within earshot of the stadium, the team announced a 9:22 p.m. start time. While the fans had already exited, many went back to reenter only to be denied. At Gate 6, fans and cops got into heated discussions and a few fights broke out. One fan was arrested for assaulting a cop, and a Daily News photographer who caught the melee on camera was threatened with a revocation of his press credential.

This afternoon, I asked for comments from fans at the game last night. The stories from the stadium paint a picture of poor communication between the Yanks and their employees.

Cory Sobov was one of the fans who left after receiving erroneous information. Sobov and his friends had been hanging around the stadium for two hours when his dad called. Sobov’s father told him that the DirecTV feed and MLB.com were both reporting a postponement. “We waited another 15 minutes for an announcement and then asked a ‘How may I help you?’ person if the game was called or not,” Sobov told me. “He said it was going to be postponed. They just haven’t announced it yet. So we left.”

Sobov has since written an e-mail to the Yankees to complain. He wasn’t, however, alone in his experiences. Alan Borock had a similar story to tell but with a happier ending. The Yankees have a system in place where Yankee staff will respond to text messages, and Borock tried to use this tool to find out when the game would start.

“At some point during the delay, my brother sent a message to the staff just to see if there were any weather updates,” he said to me via email. “They sent us a text message back saying that the game had been canceled. We asked again a little bit later for a clarification and they then told us it was just a delay, not a cancellation. Either way, we stayed through the entire game.”

Now, despite these tales of a disconnect between some Yankee employees and the official word, others have a different story to tell. According to one fan who was hanging around near the Yankee team store at Gate 6, the Daily News story isn’t an accurate retelling of what went down. This fan wished to remain anonymous but talked about his interactions with security. “People were specifically being told that there would be no re-entry’ he said. “I know this because I asked, and that they were being told on the way out that the game had not been canceled.”

This fan could see one of the giant TV screens near Gate 6. At the time fans started to leave, both that screen and the one above center field still said “Rain Delay” and no announcement had come over the PA system. This fan wondered why people were leaving based on information from anything other than the Yanks themselves. “Anyone with half a brain would really know that the ushers and gate keepers have no input into whether or not a game was going to be called and they wouldn’t have any knowledge of the situation before an announcement was made over the PA system,” he said. “That is basically like asking the hot dog guy if the game is going to be rained out.

“It seems,” he continued, “that once people got outside and realized that the tarp was coming off of the field and the game was close to starting that they all tried to get back in and a pissing match ensued. I am usually not on the side of the security staff that the Yanks have in place, especially the old crew at the old park, but I have to say that they were letting people know that if they left they could not get back in.

Other fans wrote in to tell me that the Yankee guards at some gates were allowing reentry after the fact. While Jason Zillo denied this to the Daily News, it seems as though the Yankees and their employees were not on the same page last night.

In the end, Ross at New Stadium Insider summed this all up. “Everyone is a little bit wrong here,” he wrote this morning. “The Yankees are wrong for having an antiquated re-entry policy and poorly trained employees. The poorly trained employees are wrong for dispersing false information to fans. The fans are the victims here, especially those duped by the ‘How May I Help You’ people. However, they are still wrong for leaving the stadium before seeing an official announcement from the team on the high-definition scoreboard, and then for assaulting police officers outside of the stadium. Wrong, wrong, wrong.”

With rain falling in New York right now, the Yankees and their fans have a chance to go through a rain delay all over again today. Hopefully, this time, the team, the employees and their fans will all get it right.

Losing late vs. losing early
Game 26: Roster moves and injury updates
  • Jake K.

    Sometimes the Yankees make rooting for them like rooting for Halliburton, but you take the good with the bad.

    • Steve in MN

      it’s like cheering for A-rod: cheer for the team, not the organization/person

  • AJ

    If I bought a ticket, especially a fairly high priced ticket, I wouldn’t leave early. Isn’t there plenty of stuff to do before the game? For those who have never been to the new stadium, I would have walked around and took in the sites.

    But it does seem like communication broke down somewhere, and the Yanks might need to re-evaluate their communication lines when it comes to delays, etc. People with “How May I Help You?” signs shouldn’t be giving out erroneous information.

    • Cory

      I just want to clarify, we didn’t leave early at all. We left at 9pm. We were at the stadium for 4 hours at that point, soaking wet and freezing cold. At 9 it was raining harder than at 7, and between what my dad saw on TV, what we heard from an employee, and our general senses, we figured it was definitely postponed at that point. We figured the Yankees hadn’t made the announcement yet in order to milk more money from the fans. After a few $10 beers we had had enough.

      • Chris

        The golden rule is…dont leave until its official, even if it looks bleek. I mean no re-entry is a simple concept, once u leave u cant get back in, no exceptions. Everyone should know this, even if its raining, or u wanna have a smoke or whatever. Its like that at every stadium. And im sure the ushers were harping the fact that once u leave ya cant get back in. The same thing happened last year on opening day. It rained and was in a delay for a couple hours, me and my friends were bullshitin’ with the usher at one of the gates for a while and he kept sayin “you can leave if ya want, but there is no re-entry.” He also made it clear that even though his opinion was that it would be rained out, it was not in any way official, and to just wait for an announcment. Which we did and it was canceled, but at least i had piece of mind.

  • Tony

    So… how many teams allow re-entry? Seems like a huge risk for the team, on several accounts. I’m going to guess few, if any.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      No sports team or concert venue allows reentry and for good reason. I’m certainly not advocating for reentry. I think it’s more a matter of making sure people realize what the situation is when they’re leaving and what the costs are when leaving before the game has officially been called.

      • jsbrendog

        ive been to places in nyc for concerts that allow re-entry. granted, they are smaller places that do not have such high name acts or large capacities but they do exist. for example, knitting factory, bowery ballroom both allow you to leave with a stamp or bracelet and get back in. i believe highline ballroom does as well.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          I was thinking more along the lines of arena venues. You’re right about Bowery and the Knitting Factory.

          • jsbrendog

            yeah i know you were, im not tyring to be a dick, i was just responding to the no concert venue. thats why i clarified size and lack of name brand talent. it was an agreement of idea but a disagreement of verbiage i guess.

          • jsbrendog

            anyways, sorry about the nitpick, great job. investigative reporting that is unbiased and well done.

            that squirrel sure can waterski

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

              Oh, don’t apologize. I don’t mind the nitpick. I just wanted to clarify that I was talking about similar venues to a sports stadium.

            • thurdonpaul

              squirrel ???

      • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

        Yea, I wish I could take back that antiquated re-entry policy line. I wasn’t thinking it through properly.

        As one commented said on New Stadium Insider:

        1st of all the re-entry rule to my understanding is standard protocol in most sports stadiums. I understand why they have it. Basically it protects the team from A) losing money and B) overcrowding the building. Think of this scenario, 5 friends go to the game with tickets. Another 4 friends are at Stans. The original 5 friends get in the stadium with regular purchased tickets, 1 of them leaves with all 5 tickets and gives 4 tickets to the remaining friends. 9 people enter stadium for the price of 5 tickets. Now imagine if you did this with 20 friends at stans. It could end up being a really bad situation.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

      The only re-entry I’ve heard of is out of a designated gate to smoke, but you have to have your hand stamped to re-enter

      • bkight13

        I know Legends Field in Tampa allows re-entry through one gate with a hand stamp. Same with Nationals Park in DC. Any other policy would cause too many problems.

      • http://sixtyfeetsixinches.wordpress.com Aaron S.

        Fenway Park has something similar. One gate opens onto Yawkey Way where the whole street is blocked off as if it is part of the stadium itself. Fans can smoke, get food, stretch their legs, shop at the team store, etc. But, if they leave the confines of Yawkey Way (there are fences/gates at each end) then they cannot re-enter.

        • Kered Retej

          I believe AT&T (formerly Pac Bell) Park in San Francisco where the Giants play allows re-entry. You have to get your hand stamped on the way out, and have both the stamp and the ticket to get back inside

  • http://161stStreet.wordpress.com Chris A

    I just don’t get why these people would listen to individual employees. If it were me, I would not leave until the huge scoreboard in center said, “Today’s game has been postponed.”

    • some call me…tim

      You don’t get why a consumer would listen to a properly uniformed employee of the company?

      its not like they asked me, they asked dudes with ‘how can i help you’ as part of their uniform…

      • Lanny

        Who asks the peanut vendor if the games been called when it has been announced for decades over the PA and on the scoreboard?

        • andrew

          Nobody would confuse a peanut vendor with an official Yankees employee. First of all, the vendors do not work for the Yankees, they work for the vending companies that the Yankees have contracts with. So therefore, they rightfully would not have any information. However, the group of employees that were telling people the game was over are Yankee employees. They work for the organization to ensure that fans at the games have a good experience. While nothing is as official as an announcement over the PA, it is certainly extremely reasonable to believe that these Yankees employees would have the information. I’m not going to take a side, because as was said earlier, both sides were wrong, but let’s not go out and make these people look like idiots for believing what they were told by somebody who I would believe (and apparently many others) would have access to this information

          • Max

            the yankees own the concessions at the new stadium, so technically the peanut vendor is a yankees employee. I wouldn’t say people are idiots for trusting the how may i help you employees, but there is little reason to believe these employees would know the game is PPD before it is announced and out on the scoreboard. They’re not part of the process in making the decision.

  • Lanny

    This is ridiculous. Who leaves the stadium? It has been a no reentry policy forever. It is clearly stated on the ticket and told to you by every clerk as you near an exit. You wait for the official announcements that are put on the giant scoreboard and dont ask some kid pouring cokes.

    • andrew

      So what about in that game last weekend in Detroit when the fire alarm went off and announcement over the PA came up and told fans to evacuate the stadium in an orderly fashion? Are those fans allowed back in or not? The announcement was over the PA, so apparently it is 100% official. “Official” reports are sometimes wrong. It is not the no reentry policy that is the issue here, it is the fact that Yankee employees were alerting fans that the game was cancelled when in fact it was not. None of the employees who were asked were “pouring cokes.”

  • dc1874

    I was at a game once and left my wifes glases in the car..I told security and they held my ticket..I ran to the car and got the glases..and came back into the stadium…then they gave me back my ticket…

  • Brian

    I was at the game and at 820 i asked one of the users if there was any news and he said “What I hear is that it’s gonna be canceled.” But has he was telling me, behind him the trap was be lifted up.

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